WASHINGTON - February 12 - The Bush Administration has claimed in recent legal proceedings that it does not believe that there is any legal protection for the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship, according to recently released court documents. The claim was revealed in a judges decision denying the Justice Departments demand to subpoena the records of patients whod received abortion care at a Chicago hospital.
In his ruling on the decision, Charles P. Kocoros, the Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, noted: The government counters that federal law governs this case and because federal common law does not recognize a physician-patient privilege, the medical records of Dr. Hammonds patients must be disclosed subject to the subpoena.
Kate Michelman, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said: Americans will be shocked to find out that the Bush Administration has taken the position that there is no right to medical privacy. To assert that the government has an unfettered right to root around in our private medical records is beyond appalling, and brings to mind the basic question in the debate over a womans right to choose who decides?
Ms. Michelman added: We are going to use every tool at our disposal over the next eight months to make sure the American people know what George Bush and John Ashcroft believe about medical privacy - or according to them, the lack thereof.